• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

By looking at 'Birches' and 'Out, Out-' by Robert Frost, compare and contrast the ways in which the poet conveys the theme of childhood.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Robert Frost spent most of his life living in the countryside of New England in America and had personal experience in the rural lifestyle. In the poems "Out, Out-" and "Birches", we are given insights to two very different aspects of childhood in the rural countryside - the harsh, burdened, laborious side in one and the carefree, joyful, exultant side in the other. We are also made aware of the universal brevity of childhood and life in general. In "Out, Out-", the speaker seems omniscient and detached from the other characters in the poem. He narrates the tragic story of a poor boy whose childhood is deprived of the freedom and carelessness he ought to have. We can see how much the boy longs for freedom from the lines "To please the boy by giving him the half hour That a boy counts so much when saved from work." - he knows how precious those carefree moments are and appreciates them but cannot have them. The narrative way in which the poem is told shows the reader how unfortunate other people's childhood can be. ...read more.

Middle

- and that ended it." There is the grim reality of life going on and the family in the poem also realizes this and so "...turned to their affairs." The vulnerability of childhood is clearly portrayed and the forced acceptance evokes sympathy for both the boy and the family. In "Birches" it is a more light-hearted acceptance of the fact that childhood will always end and there is no going back, but the speaker doesn't regret it as he had lived it to the full. The whole poem has a tone of reminiscence as the speaker is telling his own childhood memories with a sense of fondness. The difference in the tones present to us the different ways people experience childhood. Frost uses simple, mostly monosyllabic language in both poems. This gives us a feel of the innocence and simplicity of childhood. The use of colloquial language also enables us to understand the universality of childhood experiences. Enjambments give a sense of the continuous and cyclical nature of life and is used both poems alongside caesural pauses which serve different purposes. ...read more.

Conclusion

In "Birches" it can signify the child's rhythmic swinging from the birch trees and gives a sense of freedom. This simple rhythm parallels also with the simplicity of the language and therefore echoes the universal straightforwardness and naivety of childhood, no matter whether it's burdened with work or careless and full of play. The poems are all dramatic monologues. The speaker tells the story by himself but it's very different in that in "Out, Out-" he is telling the story of another boy but in "Birches" he is remembering his own childhood. In "Out, Out-" this allows the reader to conjure up their own feelings and emotions and the lack of the boy's own point of view gives us a sense of his helplessness. In "Birches" the monologue helps the reader to understand and relate to themselves the wonders of childhood since the speaker is talking about his own experiences - "...I once myself a swinger of birches" - and we can easily conjure up memories of our own. These two poems give two completely contrasting aspects of childhood. It's difficult to compare them as the contents are so different but I think that "Birches" is a much more enjoyable read with its vibrant imagery and more positive tone. ?? ?? ?? ?? Chuer Zhang ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Robert Frost section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Robert Frost essays

  1. Write a Critical Appreciation of 'Birches'.

    seem not to break; though once they are bowed/So low for so long, they never right themselves...' seem to be a distressing allusion to old age and infirmity. Perhaps Frost is warning us here that youth, like nature, is ephemeral, and life should be lived fully before Time scythes us away, like the unwanted and spent bracken.

  2. Closely analyse the poems 'Sacifice' by Taufiq Rafat and 'Out, Out' by Robert Frost. ...

    I found this clever because it is misleading. In the next line the poet shows a bit of emotion by saying 'call it a day, I wish they might have said'. By using the words 'I wish' it makes you think that something bad may happen to him.

  1. How does Robert Frost use rural imagery to suggest life's journey?

    symbolises obstacles that he may encounter on the way, but like opportunities that we have in life, the harder or more challenging that the route is usually it will have a bigger reward. In After Apple Picking the objects chosen like the apples are metaphoric as they can represent choices so go beyond the literal.

  2. Poets often use nature imagery to comment on the relationship between humans and the ...

    (Frost 410) The birches are representative of the childhood innocence that is conveyed by the speaker. Frost's trees are white, a colour that is traditionally associated with purity and youth and they also serve as a metaphor for the aging process.

  1. The Relationship Between Man and Nature in the poems of Robert Frost and R.S. ...

    "Something there is that doesn't love a wall." It's only the hunters trying to find their rabbit. How many dogs must have died from rocks falling on them? They should be nice to the dogs, and the rabbits, by putting up a proper wall, one that won't fall down.

  2. Robert Frost: A Great American Poet"Rightly or wrongly, Robert Frost has achieved a reputation ...

    (De Fusco 13) but " he is more than a New England poet: he is more than an American poet; he is a poet who can be understood anywhere..." (Van Doren). In all of Robert Frost's poetry there is a use of metaphor.

  1. "The Darkling Thrush," written by Thomas Hardy - review

    This coincides with the themes of the poem itself, being a sadness and depression because it is the end of not only year, but also a century.

  2. Analyse The Woodpile and compare the language and themes to other Frosts poems.

    showing that Frost's meaning is that of humans discard for the things they do. In Tuft Of Flowers, the narrator is in the process of turning some freshly cut grass, so it can be dried and made into hay, when they spot a butterfly, that whilst following it with their

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work